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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 67013 Find in a Library
Title: CHILD ABUSE REPORTING LAWS - ACTION AND UNCERTAINTY
Journal: CHILD WELFARE  Volume:59  Issue:4  Dated:(APRIL 1980)  Pages:203-212
Author(s): G K NELSON; J DAINAUSKI; L KILMER
Corporate Author: Welfare League of America (CWLA)
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Welfare League of America (CWLA)
Washington, DC 20036
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE STUDY ASSESSED THE IMPACT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES LAW ON THE CASEWORKERS WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR INVESTIGATING REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE.
Abstract: IN ALL STATES PHYSICAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN MUST BE REPORTED TO A STATE OR LOCAL AGENCY, AND THE CATEGORIES OF PERSONS REQUIRED TO REPORT HAVE BEEN BROADENED TO INCLUDE PHYSICIANS, TEACHERS, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS, AND DAY CARE WORKERS. BECAUSE OF THE PUBLICITY FOCUSED ON THE BATTERED CHILD SYNDROME AND NEW LEGISLATION, THE NUMBERS OF REPORTED ABUSE CASES HAS INCREASED SUBSTANTIALLY. IN PENNSYLVANIA, INDIVIDUALS REQUIRED TO REPORT SUSPECTED ABUSE CALL A 24-HOUR-A-DAY TELEPHONE HOTLINE, CHILDLINE. THE CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES MUST BEGIN AN INVESTIGATION WITHIN 24 HOURS AND COMPLETE IT WITHIN 30 DAYS. THE CASEWORKER ALSO HAS TO PROTECT THE CHILD FROM FURTHER ABUSE, SEEK EMERGENCY CARE IF NECESSARY, AND COLLECT EVIDENCE FOR THE INVESTIGATION WHILE ATTEMPTING TO PRESERVE THE FAMILY UNIT. AN EVALUATION BY A STATE COMMISSION FOUND THAT MANY OF THE CHILDLINE REPORTS WERE NOT LEGALLY CASES OF ABUSE AND THAT INVESTIGATIONS WERE MORE EFFICIENT WHEN THE INITIAL REFERRAL CAME FROM A COUNTY AGENCY. A SURVEY OF 50 EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS OF PENNSYLVANIA CHILD WELFARE AGENCIES INDICATED SOME CONFUSION ABOUT THE DEFINITION OF AN ABUSED CHILD. MOST BELIEVED THAT CHILDLINE SHOULD SCREEN REPORTS, GIVING PRIORITY TO SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY AND SEXUAL ABUSE. OVER 75 PERCENT OF THE RESPONDENTS WANTED TO EXTEND THE 24-HOUR PERIOD OF PROTECTIVE CUSTODY, BUT BELIEVED THAT THE INVESTIGATION SHOULD NOT TAKE MORE THAN 30 DAYS. AGENCY ADMINISTRATORS WOULD LIKE A COMPREHENSIVE PROTECTIVE SERVICE LAW THAT WOULD PROTECT ALL CHILDREN AT RISK AND AVOID PROBLEMS CAUSED BY NARROW DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE. THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE REPORTING ACT TO OTHER JUVENILE LEGISLATION IS UNCLEAR IN TERMS OF TAKING CHILDREN INTO PROTECTIVE CUSTODY AND RULES OF EVIDENCE IN COURT PROCEEDINGS. MOREOVER, LEGAL OBLIGATIONS CONCERNING INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS HAVE ADDED TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN OF THE CASEWORKER RESULTING IN NEGATIVE ATTITUDES TOWARD THE LAW. REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Child abuse reporting; Child abuse reporting statutes; Child protection services; Hotlines; Pennsylvania; Social workers
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67013

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